A huge clash at the top of the EFL Championship table awaited at the King Power Stadium on Friday evening. Enzo Maresca’s Foxes, who narrowly defeated QPR 2-1 last time out, looked for a staggering 14th win in 15 league games against a Leeds United team that swept aside Huddersfield Town at Elland Road last Saturday.
LEI: Hermansen; Pereira, Faes, Vestergaard, Justin; Casadei, Winks, Dewsbury-Hall; Fatawu, Mavididi, Vardy
LEE: Meslier; Gray, Struijk, Rodon, Byram; Ampadu, Kamara; James, Summerville, Piroe; Rutter
With this being Leicester City’s last home game before Remembrance Day, the King Power fell silent before kick-off to remember those who gave their lives during conflicts, past and present.
Once the game got underway, it may have been considered a surprise in terms of who started the better, as Leeds looked for an early opener. Mads Hermansen’s clearance travelled only as far as Georginio Rutter, whose ball back into the box found Joel Piroe – though his finish somehow didn’t sneak in at the near post. Another chance followed shortly after, as Rutter had a chance on his own to open the scoring, but Wout Faes cleared his lines well.
The Foxes eventually grew into the game and they almost found the back of the net as Harry Winks’ ball in from the edge of the box almost found Chelsea loanee Cesare Casadei in the centre of the box, but Pascal Struijk and Joe Rodon blocked the Italian from opening the scoring for the home side. Abdul Fatawu then did brilliantly to get past Sam Byram down the right hand side of the pitch, racing into the box before seeing his excellent curling effort crash back off the woodwork – almost a world-class goal from the Sporting Lisbon loanee!
With five minutes gone in the second half, Crysencio Summerville thought he had a clear run at goal following Georginio Rutter’s through ball, but once again, Wout Faes got back and cleared everything up for Leicester before Summerville could take the shot on.
The pattern at the second half looked a familiar one: Leeds applying the pressure, Leicester soaking it up. Rutter, yet again, had a chance of his own to break the deadlock in this top of the table clash, but his effort was tame and rolled comfortably into the hands of Mads Hermansen.
Eventually, Leeds United were going to make that pressure pay off, and they did so as they took the lead in the 58th minute. A corner kick in from the right by Dan James found Sam Byram in front of Mads Hermansen, who parried the ball away but only as far as Georginio Rutter, who did find the finish this time, smashing home the rebound into an empty goal.Embed from Getty Images
Leicester knew that if they were to go further clear at the top of the Championship table, they would have to come from behind – and the comeback would have began had Abdul Fatawu kept his shot down from the edge of the box 18 minutes from time.
Leeds United could have put the game to bed just moments after, as Dan James got forward on the counter attack. The Welsh international then cut inside and curled the ball low towards the far corner, but Mads Hermansen got down and collected James’s tame effort comfortably.
Leicester almost equalised with two minutes of stoppage time to go, with Abdul Fatawu’s cross finding Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall at the far post, but when it looked for all the world that his header was creeping in the top corner, Ilian Meslier pulled off an excellent save to keep it out.
Both sides are next in action on November 11th, with Leicester City travelling to Michael Carrick’s Middlesbrough, and Leeds heading back to Elland Road to take on Plymouth Argyle – both 3pm kickoffs.